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The Amish are a Protestant anti-modernist religious group founded in the 1690s by Jakob Ammann, a Mennonite preacher who criticized other Mennonites for their failure to adhere to traditional standards. Ammann was able to attract followers from among the Mennonites in Switzerland, Holland and Germany. In the early 1700s they began to immigrate to the United States where their communities thrived.

Today, Amish live in rural areas, refuse to use electricity and other modern things, and dress very plainly. They are, perhaps, the most visible of all religious "dissenters" in the United States - those who endeavor to fully isolate themselves from wider American society. They don't vote and they don't enlist in the military, but they do pay taxes.

In addition with trying to live as close as possibly to the ways of members of the early Christian church, the Amish also follow a practice introduced by Ammann known as "shunning" (Meidung). If a member of the group fails to follow the rules (Ordnung), they are to be ostracized by everyone in the group, including family, children and their spouse.

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